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Corporate: Freshfields makes Paris M&A lateral hire as 2013 M&A adviser tables do little to instil confidence

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has become the second elite global firm to make a high-profile corporate lateral hire this week, as the latest M&A deal tables released today (9 January) show European and global transaction levels fell again in 2013.

The Magic Circle firm has strengthened its international capital markets, M&A and corporate advisory offering in Paris with the hire of partner Olivier Rogivue from leading French practice Bredin Prat.

Rogivue has been a partner for at Bredin Prat for the last six years before which he worked at Slaughter and May’s Paris and London offices for 11 years, giving him extensive experience of advising large industrial clients in France on international transactions.

Freshfields’ global head of corporate Edward Braham said: ‘As the French market becomes increasingly international, we are seeing an increasing demand for top-quality lawyers with valuable international experience. Olivier is an exceptional candidate who will help us to build on our successful track record on corporate transactions in France.’

Commenting on the appointment of Olivier Rogivue to the Paris corporate team, Hervé Pisani, head of corporate in Paris, noted: ‘Olivier combines a strong blend of domestic understanding and international perspective. His skills and experience are an excellent fit for our existing practice and we believe that he will make a significant contribution to further developing it locally and internationally.’

This hire comes a day after US firm Latham & Watkins’ made its fifth city partner hire within the last 12 months with Weil, Gotshal & Manges’ private equity partner Nick Benson joining the firm. Also in Paris, French firm August & Debouzy has recently bolstered its own private equity practice after recruiting Paris-based partner David Malamed, also from Weil, Gotshal & Manges.

These lateral hires comes as Mergermarket today released its league tables of legal advisors on global M&A for 2013. Global M&A value was down 3.2% on 2012 at $2215.1bn, the third successive year of falling M&A activity, while European M&A value is down 12% to $631.3bn.

By contrast, news from the Asia-Pacific region is more positive, with the total value of M&A deals up 15% to $403.4bn.

Total value figures for M&A in 2013 were further distorted by Verizon’s $124.1bn acquisition of a 45% stake in Verizon Wireless from Vodafone in September, a deal that accounts for more than 5% of the total deal value for the year and dwarfs the second-largest transaction of the year, Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital’s $27.4bn bid for Heinz.

Unsurprisingly, the firms lining up on the Verizon deal fared particularly well in the legal advisors to M&A by value table, with Davis Polk & Wardwell jumping from 14th place in 2012 to top spot this year; Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz moving from eight place to second and Simpson Thacher & Bartlet going from 16th to third. Dutch firm De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, which was one of the advisers to Vodafone on the deal, moved up 49 places in the table to 7th.

Elsewhere, DLA Piper retains its spot as the number one adviser on M&A by volume, involved in 385 deals during the calendar year, ahead of Latham & Watkins, which is the most prolific M&A firm by total volume and total value combined, and Kirkland & Ellis.